Released on June 13, 2017
Government of Saskatchewan conservation officers want to emphasize a simple message to well-intentioned people who want to rescue what appear to be orphaned young animals this time of year – don’t touch them. Whether it is a young fawn, duckling, small rabbit or a songbird, it is best to leave them alone.
In the majority of cases, young animals are not abandoned or deserted, and the mother is nearby watching. Young mammals and birds are purposely placed into seclusion by their mothers to protect them from predators.
Anytime a young wild animal comes into contact with humans, its chance for survival decreases significantly. Plus, it’s illegal to take wild animals home.
Wildlife may carry and transmit infectious diseases to people, such as rabies or West Nile Virus. It is best to leave the animal where it is. Only wildlife rehabilitators are licensed to care for orphaned and injured animals. They are trained to make sure animals are given appropriate care and nutrition so they have the best chance of survival back in the wild.
The only time a young animal should be picked up is in unnatural situations or if the parent is found dead nearby, such as a young songbird found on a doorstep. In that case, the young bird could be moved to the closest suitable habitat.
To determine if a deer fawn is truly orphaned, please consider these indicators: - Has it been lying in the same position for more than 10 hours? - Is it vocal? - Is it covered in insects? - Is it wet, perhaps from morning dew, indicating it has been there for a prolonged period? If there are obvious signs of injury, or that it has been orphaned, contact your local conservation officer.
Residents are also reminded to steer clear of adult wildlife, such as deer or moose that sometimes wander into urban areas. Large crowds will stress the animal, and this could lead to a potentially dangerous situation. Give wildlife their space.
In addition, June is one of the peak months for vehicle accidents involving wildlife. So it is important for drivers to slow down and watch for wildlife crossing the roadways. Be more vigilant around dusk and in the evening, as animal movement increases after dark.
For a list of conservation officers in your area, visit http://www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/environment-public-health-and-safety/find-your-nearest-environment-office.
For more information, contact: